International Student Donates Symbols of Japan to Wesleyan
Monday, April 16th, 2012
Six years ago Tsubasa Tomoto came to West Virginia Wesleyan College from his hometown of Tokyo, Japan. Since then, the masters of athletic training program student has spent many hours in the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library and meeting many people within the Wesleyan community; and to show his gratitude toward the college Tomoto has donated a signed limited edition print photo to hang in the library.
“My Theta Xi fraternity brothers said the library is my second room, and if anyone wants to find Tsubasa, they should go to the library,” Tomoto said. “If there had not been a library on this campus, my college study would not have been as successful.”
The picture is by Kotaro Yoshioka, a Japanese woodblock artist, who depicts Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, with the famous spring cherry blossoms. Tomoto explained cherry blossoms are the flower most beloved by the Japanese people and they symbolize Japan. It is a tradition for Japan to send cherry trees overseas as a symbol of peace. Famously, the cherry blossoms bloom every spring in Washington, D.C. at the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River.
“I would like to share the beautiful Japanese symbols, Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms, as a token of my appreciation to West Virginia Wesleyan College,” Tomoto said. “If people could enjoy the beautiful drawing for a brief moment, I would be gratified.”
Other than wanting to share a part of Japan with his “second room,” one of Tomoto’s athletic training professors, Dan Martin, exercise science department chair and professor of exercise science and athletic training,is also a regular in the library and at a certain desk. Martin has served as a mentor to Tomoto by helping him research and giving him advice on how to plan for the future. The picture hangs on the wall near the desk Martin typically chooses.
Tomoto also wanted to share the photo because of the support he and other Japanese students received from the Wesleyan community after the March 11, 2011, Tsunami that devastated his home country.
Tomoto said he chose Wesleyan after a study abroad agent suggested the college because of its “strong science classes, organized athletic training program, strong athletic programs, support for international students, and good environment for higher education.”
Tomoto obtained a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Wesleyan in May 2011. As an undergraduate he was named the West Virginia state chair and student senator for the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Wesleyan Outstanding Senior in Athletic Training. He is Theta Xi Fraternity alumnus and a member of the International Student Organization and a member of the men’s tennis team.
When Tomoto came to Wesleyan five years ago, he could not speak and read English well enough to communicate with people.
“The situation was very challenging for me because the athletic training major is required to communicate with professors, athletes, coach, etc.,” he said. “Also, we must understand the concept and apply athletic training knowledge and skill to clinical rotation every day. I would like to say thank you to my parents, athletic training professors, Theta Xi fraternity brothers, and my friends.”